A friend from high school reached out to tell me that her biological mother had died. She told me that the whole thing had been a nightmare and that I should write about it.
Here is Cheryl’s story, part of November’s #flipthescript series in which adoptees take over the microphone.
Image: Tracy Hammond
How I Got Informally Adopted
Cheryl: My memories start at age 5. My mom, Connie, had four more children after me: Viki, twins Mark and Mike, and Richard.
Connie was a partier and was gone most nights. My siblings and I were hungry, we were dirty and we were neglected. I once almost killed my little sister Viki by giving her a bottle of baby aspirin because Connie was out lookin’ for love.
Eventually social services stepped in. Connie kept Viki but gave up the twins and Richard to Colorado Christian Home. As for me? A couple who eventually became my parents had seen me at their church, where Connie would send me to beg for money, food, whatever. This couple informally adopted me with Connie’s blessing. Connie kept trying to get money from them for years. Eventually my adoptive parents got a lawyer and fought for me.
Anne Heffron is a highly gifted writer. In fact, she’s spent decades teaching writing to others, amid her own struggles around identity, brokenness, self-destructive habits, and conflicting emotions about her own mother (it’s mere coincidence that my last post was on the Happy/Sad of adoption). Her memoir and first book, You Don’t Look Adopted, was published four months ago (though Anne is already an accomplished screenwriter), and I have just recently begun reading it.
Writing her memoir — finally — about the things most pressing but most difficult to talk about is but one of the therapies Anne has pursued in her quest for wholeness and self-worth.